Hi, My Name Is Ralph Bass...This Is My Library

The first in our series of counseling case studies.

DEAR PASTOR: My 19 year-old daughter has refused to complete her first year of college. She got C’s in all of her subjects, and has stated that it is too hard. I agree that it would not be worthwhile to send her back with her current attitude, but she also refuses to do anything else. She has not even looked for a job. She stays out late with who knows whom and gets up every day around noon. When I tell her she must find a job, she tells me to stop nagging. What do I do? Betty T.
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Counseling Case Study 1

ANSWER: Behavior has its consequences, or at least it should. The Bible says it this way, “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies” II Thessalonians 3:10-11. By living in your home, and yet not working, your daughter is violating this passage. However, she can only do so with your approval. You should not violate God’s word by providing this approval. In addition, the Scriptures say this, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” Galatians 6:7. Your daughter is sowing; what is she reaping? What are you letting her reap? The only thing she is reaping so far is the Life of Riley.

You ask what you should do; you should give her notice to “shape up or ship out.” If she does not want to go to school, but wants to live with you, and you want her there, she must do two things.

One, she must live by your rules, which embody your faith with its moral and ethical standards. Write these rules out so there can be no misunderstandings. Include the time she must be in every evening, if she is required to go to Church, who you do not want her associating with, etc. The benefit of responsible maturity is that, if you do not find such rules acceptable, you can establish your own home and set your own rules. But if she is not responsible and thereby not able to support herself, then she must live by your rules. No other options are acceptable.

Two, she must pay room and board, not “play” paying room and board, as in $25 a month. No, it must be something substantial like $300 a month. If she can provide housing, utilities, and food for less than that, have at it.

Your daughter is irresponsible. You must do the things that will confront her with the necessity of living a responsible life, not enabling her sinful irresponsibility. That would make you share in her sin. That would also make you a poor example to the obedience of God’s word. Be a good example, not a poor one. You must demand that she act in a godly and responsible manner, or else.

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